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A Brief Guide to Ukrainian-Swiss Relations

23. January 2013 by Dasha 0 Comments

Ukraine and Switzerland may be over a thousand miles apart, but the two nations are working together to strengthen business ties and form a strong relationship. Here’s a brief guide to Swiss-Ukrainian relations, as well as a few relevant resources.

Ukrainians in Switzerland

According to Ivana Wagner, charge d’affaires in the embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, around 8,000 Ukrainians live and work in Switzerland. Many are women employed in the field of nursing. Swiss officials also grant around 22,000 visas per year, with most intended for tourists drawn to the nation’s ski resorts or other attractions. However, around 20% of the visas are for marriage. This is hardly a surprise, as we’ve always known that Swiss men love Ukrainian brides.

Business Ties

Swiss-based Nestlé acquired Ukraine’s Sviotch confectionary brand in the mid-90s and invested in the company’s Lviv chocolate factory. The company also gained control of Ukraine’s Torchyn culinary products and Mivina, a company which makes ramen style noodles. All in all, the Kyiv Post reports, Nestle has invested $300 million in Ukraine. However, Nestlé is an anomaly, and both nations acknowledge there’s room for improvement. Heinz Heise, founder of Dr. Heise Consulting, thinks eradicating negative stereotypes about Ukraine would be a big help.

“When I say in Switzerland that I’m working in Ukraine, people think it’s four hours away, behind the Iron Curtain, and they have no idea how many people live here,” Heise said.

Swiss-Ukrainian Resources

Here are a few resources for Ukrainians in Switzerland or Swiss citizens interesting in learning more about Ukraine.

  • Ukrainian Society in Switzerland – “Provides a venue for contact between Ukrainians residing throughout Switzerland, organizes social events, maintains and preserves Ukrainian culture in the Diaspora, informs about Ukrainian matters, and officially represents its members in the public sphere.”
  • Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine – Issues visas for Ukrainians hoping to travel to Switzerland or move there permanently.
  • Embassy of Ukraine in Switzerland – Provides visa assistance, information about Ukraine and current events
  • Joint Chambers of Commerce - “JCC is a non-profit, member-based organization that facilitates economic relations between Switzerland and Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.”

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